Greg Dinerman 11/16/08
AP European History Mr. Carter
In 1750, the European economy was an overwhelmingly an agricultural. The land was owned largely by wealthy and frequently aristocratic landowners; they leased the land to farmers who paid for the land in real goods that they grew or produced. Most non-agricultural goods were produced by individual families that specialized in one set of skills: wagon-wheel manufacture, for instance. Most capitalist activity focused on merchant activity rather than production; there was, however, a growing manufacturing industry forming around the practice of mercantilism.
The European economy had become a global economy. European trade and manufacture stretched to every continent except Antarctica; this vast increase in the market for European goods drove the conversion to an industrial, manufacturing economy. Why other nations didn't initially join this revolution is explained by the monopoly of control that the Europeans exerted over the global economy. World trade was about making Europeans wealthy, not about making richer any other nation.
Another reason given for the Industrial Revolution is the substantial increase in the population of Europe. Whether the Industrial Revolution was started off by a rise in population, or whether the Industrial Revolution started a rise in population is a tough question to answer. It's clear that the transition to an industrial, manufacturing economy required more people to labor at this manufacture. The logic of a manufacturing economy is a surplus economy. In a manufacturing economy, a person's productive labor needs to produce more than they need to keep life going. This surplus production is what produces profits for the owners of the manufacture. This surplus economy not only makes population growth possible, it makes it desirable.